New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965. First edition. Octavo, original red paper boards, black cloth spine, original dust jacket. Very gentle shelf wear to spine ends, jacket price-clipped dust jacket clean and bright. A nearly-fine copy. Item #658
"THE CHURCH DELIVERS US FROM OURSELVES BY PUBLIC WORSHIP" First edition of Thomas Merton's collected reflections on the liturgical year, published in the middle of the Second Vatican Council. The fifteen pieces are preceded by a brief introductory Author's Note (dated, Abbey of Gethsemani, Ky./August, 1965") describing the communal nature of the work: "These essays and addresses on the Liturgy were not merely composed in a monastic cell in order to be placed silently in the hands of the reader." Merton stresses that almost "everything in this book has been delivered to, and in some cases discussed with, a group or congregation." Merton identifies Easter: The New Life (1959), The Good Samaritan (1961), and the first essay, Liturgy and Spiritual Personalism (1963) as the three most important pieces: "these may prove to be the most controversial sections of a book that nowhere lays claim to a merely safe and conventual piety." The lengthy first essay—on Christian personalism and liturgical renewal in light of the council's Constitution on Sacred Liturgy—is divided into sections: 1. The Personal Aspect of Personal Renewal, 2. Public Service, 3. A Royal Priesthood, 4. True and False Personalism. Merton describes the process of self-discovery in the liturgy: "The Christian person finds himself and his brother in the communal celebration of the mystery of Christ." Approbations.